Sweet and Spicy Lentil Salad

sweet and spicy lentil saladI am always on a quest to add more plant-based protein and nutrient-rich fiber to my and my family’s plates. After cooking up some lentils to add to a Buddha Bowl dinner recently, I began searching for a recipe to use the rest of the dried lentils in my pantry. This, from the website My New Roots popped up. After a bit of trial and tinkering I found that I liked it quite a bit. The raisins and onions complement but don’t over-power the taste and texture of the lentils. The cumin, turmeric, maple syrup and mustard make for a fantastic vinaigrette (that you might like to top other salads with as well). And the hearty greens and herbs mix stands up so well to all the flavors going on in this dish. Give it a try. You might see lentils in a whole new light.

Makes about 6 side dish servings


  • 2 cups dried lentils
  • 1 tsp. olive or other high-quality oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil or favorite high-quality oil
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup (local if you can get it)
  • 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 cup arugula leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup Swiss chard, beet greens, fresh spinach or kale or any mix of these, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh mint leaves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh cilantro, minced
  • Optional add-ons: walnuts, fresh raw veggies like cucumbers, radishes or sprouts, avocado, hard-boiled eggs


  1. Rinse lentils and drain well. Place in saucepan and cover with 3-4 inches of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 15-20 minutes and test for doneness. Do not over cook. Lentils are ready when they have the texture of al dente pasta. Drain and set aside in a medium bowl.
  2. Heat oil in cast-iron skillet or frying pan. Add onion and garlic. Sauté for a minute or two until veggies just begin to soften. Scoop from the pan and add to the lentils.
  3. Stir raisins into lentil mixture.
  4. Whisk oil, vinegar, syrup, mustard and spices in a small bowl until well-combined. Pour into the lentil mixture and stir well.
  5. Toss together greens and herbs in a separate bowl. Serve roughly 1/3 cup onto each plate. Top with large scoop of lentil mixture. Garnish with add-ons.